One large 4K monitor or two smaller monitors for programming, reading, writing and CAD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hajime, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. hajime macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #1
    Hello, I used to use a HP 24" LCD display. The resolution is 1920x1200. The letters are easy to read but for CAD work, a higher resolution one may be better. Now I have a large desk 185x90 [cm], I can buy a large 30-40" 4K LCD monitor or two 24" (1920x1200) monitors. What suggestions do you have? I am a programmer, 3D CAD SolidWorks/Autodesk Inventor user and a writer. I am concerned that using a 4K monitor for reading and programming for a long time may be bad for the eyes. Any experience appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #2
    I own and run a small engineering firm, with about 50 PCs/Macs and about 100 displays. None of our work utilizes 4k - full or UHD, but we do buy 4k displays as we find them quite clear at 1080p/1440p. All we use are BenQ and Eizo displays for CAD/CAM work; we use Dells for other production work and some are 4k UHD compatible. My office work is done on two Dell P2715Q displays, and my CAD work is done on BenQ BL2711U displays (I used Eizo displays for this work but put them on an employee's desk). Eizo displays are not cheap, or even reasonably cost-effective for those on a budget but I recommend them to those who want their work looking in output as it does on a screen. The BenQ displays are also quite optimized for certain industries, and the BL2711U is optimized for CAD/CAM and Macs and it's fairly future-proofed.

    We'll do work in 1440p workspaces during design in Revit or SolidWorks or Bently or another app and output a fly-through in both HD and UHD. UHD fly-throughs always - and I mean ALWAYS - make the client happy...

    My next: https://www.amazon.com/Philips-BDM4350UC-43-Inch-IPS-LED-Monitor/dp/B01E18XRY2 - there's caveats, including a 30-minute static image disclaimer, but this isn't an issue for me. It's going in my next home office...
     
  3. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #3
    are you looking for more pixels of information or a retina type experience?
     
  4. hajime thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #4
    Sorry I don't quit understand the differences between the two. Could you please clarify? I guess I want something that is easy for the eyes yet be able to present lots of information.

    Here is the monitor I had:
    http://www.cnet.com/products/hp-w2448hc-lcd-monitor-24-series/specs/

    What is the dpi in this case? Am I right that if I found the size of the letters of this monitor easy for the eyes and I end up buying a 4K monitor, I should find one that has the same dpi?

    I read that 4K screens require more mouse movements from the users. How is such experience under Mac OS and Windows?
     
  5. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #5
    I see two use cases: if you want to work on a large drawing/spreadsheet displayed as big as possible with as much detail as possible, then one big screen is going to be better. However, if you're juggling information from multiple sources or multiple applications, then 2-3 smaller screens can be easier to manage than one big one - e.g. if you are programming you can have your code editor/IDE full-screened on one display and all your online reference stuff on another and, maybe, your app running on a third. I find it easier than trying to tile multiple windows on one large screen (although apps like BetterSnapTool can help that).

    Obviously, a single large display gives less clutter...

    No reason it should - you'll get a choice of screen modes that let you choose the trade-off between tiny default text & icons or larger text & icons rendered more sharply. The lower refresh rate on 4k displays might make animation less smooth but doesn't mean the screen will flicker like an old 60Hz TV, either.

    Its a pity that there's no 3840x2400, 16:10 "4k" displays that would be a better replacement for 24" screens, since they'd be able to use a "Retina" version of 1920x1200.
     
  6. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #6
    To give an example. If you had a (theoretical) 48" 4K monitor. It would have the same pixel density as a 24" 1080p monitor. The screen would not be any clearer, but you would be able to display 4x as much information. If you had a 24" 4K monitor. You would have the the same screen area as a 1080p monitor, but everything would be much clearer due to the pixel density.

    Macs do a good job of scaling, so you could go for an intermediate size of 27" or 32" 4K. You would get benefits in both clarity and screen space. Windows has been bad at scaling, although I have heard it is supposed to be better in 10.

    Another thing to take into account is the screen type. Avoid the cheaper TN screens as you will get colour shift on your graphical work due to the lower viewing angles (most 28" 4K screens are TN). VA might work for you (viewing angles not as good as IPS but better blacks).But IPS is ideal and is commonly available. Go for IPS if you can.
     
  7. thats all folks, Aug 14, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016

    thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #7
    There are monitors as they have been all along, where a pixel is a pixel. More recently there are the "retina" type monitors, with significantly higher pixel densities and the approach that roughly 4 pixels of the display convey one pixel of information. Take Apple's 27" iMac for example. The 5K version has 4 times as many pixels than the previous non-retina version, but at default settings, displays the exact same amount of information. It just displays it clearer and cleaner. You can set things so those extra pixels display more information, the success of that depends on the retina readiness of your applications and the type of data you are displaying. but no matter what kind of "optimization" an OS or program can offer, displaying more information on a retina type display means making things smaller.

    your current 24" has a PPI of around 94. To match that at 4K (3840x2160) you would need a 46" screen. That is not a thing. Okay yes, it is, a TV. I think you will find using a TV as a computer monitor on a desk to be disappointing quality wise, and physically imposing as a desktop item. So you do want a bigger monitor, but one with a similar PPI. I suggest you look at 30" non-retina displays*. Not 4K but at 2560 by 1600 is a lot of pixels (78% more than the 24") and with a PPI of 100, very readable. Of course if you really like yourself, you will get two of them and spend every day wondering why you hadn't done this sooner.

    *yes, just like Apple used to offer years ago. a very nice display. now my go to for high quality, well built, easy to use, well supported monitors is NEC. they cost more than a lot of what is out there but they will deliver and last in a professional environment.
     

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